Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009, a year in review

2009 was a challenging year for me. It started out with being sick in January (H1N1? plain old flu?) Who knows, but that drug on until March, when it was decided I had a raging case of strep. Although the antibiotics kicked in and kicked out the strep, it seemed like it took the rest of the year to get my energy back. Frustrating.

There were some great highlights, though.
In February, I went to the Seattle Flower show and Madrona. I always love the flower show and it inspires me to want to garden more - of course, it always snows on the way home. Madrona - Tacoma knitting conference - just inspires me to spend money on my knitting obsession.

March brought the opening of my home pilates studio. There were some doubtful moments there, but it's humming along nicely, thank you.

April - off to mind/body for pilates inspiration. Love it!

In May, I finished the last of my advanced pilates training. June and July were all study, all the time, and I passed my advanced certification exam at the end of July.

August was time to celebrate, both a milestone birthday and the culmination of many years of pilates work by passing the exam. It was off to Sock Summit.
What can I say about Sock Summit??? It was an amazing, fun, crazy, empowering, fun, awesome, learning experience. I met so many folks there from all over the country with at least one thing in common - our love for knitting, and stashing yarn. It was the best birthday present I could have asked for.

The rest of the year flew by in a flash. Knitting, pilates, working, volunteeering for the master gardeners and, finally, getting my energy back. Feels good to be human again.

What's up for 2010? I'm saving that for next week, but I have some (lots) of ideas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

She's a little obsessed with my new build-a-bear boxer!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

almost there.....

Well, I spent this week distributing my christmas gifts. They were all well recieved and will love their new homes. DH has yet to open his, though. He has to wait.
You can see it here.
Diamonds in his shoes (free rav pattern). The yarn is "top dog" from creatively dyed, purchased at sock summit for this very purpose. It was a huge skein and there's probably enough left for a pair of fingerless mitts.

I wanted to make him a second pair, but he wasn't gone long enough. Hard to make a surprise with the surprisee sitting right next to you. So..... now I'm just making them anyway. I'm loving the pattern on this, you can't really see the detail here, but it looks like fish scales. They're the show-off stranded socks, STR strange brew.
There's going to be a bunch of this left too. I bought two skeins when it was on sale, because he likes a longer leg and has a bigger foot.

I'll probably take these with me on christmas to the in-laws. They're easy to work on and, now that the heel is done, mindless knitting.

The book is one I pre-ordered a while ago, and honestly, had forgotten about. The photos are beautiful and I want to knit every single one of the mittens. Just what I need, more projects.

Next up.....the mystery knit-a-long from the knitter's brewing co., and I've volunteered to test knit a scarf/cowl for someone in exchange for a free pattern.
It needs to be done in the month of January, so I'll be working on that between the clues.

Christmas promises to be a quiet one, with a trip to the in-laws and (thank goodness) no snow.
So, to all my readers - all 3 of you.....
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah
Here's to a great, happy 2010!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the doggies were nestled all snug in their beds.....

And it started SNOWING!
Remember what happened last year when it snowed here?
Two weeks of forced house arrest. (at least I got lots of knitting and cleaning done)
Not supposed to happen this time, but.......

This week brought some nice treats.

From L to R
Man-sock for a christmas present - pattern diamonds in his shoes - yarn- top dog from creatively dyed, purchased at sock summit for this purpose. You'll notice there's only one, though, and today is the 14th.
In the center bottom, my final free book. I used up ALL of my points. Every stinking one.
And SPEAKING OF POINTS... see that little square thing above the book, that's my christmas present. It's an IPOD 64g touch, purchased with amex points. See, those reward programs really can work. and, yes, it already has a knitting app in it.
If anyone knows of any cool apps, let me know. I don't mind paying either, if it's worth it. (ORBA - addictive little game)
Last but not least, from the Knitter's Brewing CO, the yarn for the january mystery sock KAL. This is going to be a fun little project. The yarn kit also came with a cute little stitch marker, very nice handwritten card, and the first clue, which I need to get started on, as soon as I put down the ipod. I would definitely buy from these folks again. Great service and very personable.

The botanica medallion is also done, here modeled my our fashion plate, cinnamon brown. Honestly, it fits her much better than it does me after all that work. It came out more like a vest than anything else. Just wasn't made for us gals with "wide shoulders" as my mom used to say.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

the STUPID botanica medallion

My friend pam has this thing. Every time she gets to that part of a big project that feels like you're knitting backwards (you know what I mean), it becomes the 'stupid' sweater.
So, here is the STUPID botanica medallion.
The center medallion is finished, the outside is going backwards. I have 50 of 96 rows complete. knit, knit, knit.

Next up, some socks, and I'm really thinking of joining this sock KAl in january.
Sounds like fun!
Knitter's mystery KAL
Still working on a few last minute christmas goodies, but it's pretty much wrapped up and sent on it's way.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

well, I didn't want to be bored if it snows!!!

Major score and yarn purchase this week.
Check it out.......

There are 6 books there, Barbara Walker stitch dictionary 2 and 3, Cat's new sock book, a couple of Norwegian knitting books (my new obsession), and a lace book.
They were all free, courtesy of weight watchers bar codes.
Last year, weight watchers announced a program that if you saved bar codes and sent them in, you could get "fabulous" prizes. Well, the points you had to have for the prizes just kept going up, and the program ends dec. 31st, so I just got a whole bunch of books from my wishlist. I MIGHT have one more book's worth left, we'll see if they give me credit for them.

The yarn on the right is the spoils from the Blue Moon sale. A pure black raven, Lunasea (to use with the raven, but I'm not sure it's going to work - I think I have a better one), and a couple of Strange Brew, purchased to be man-socks as a christmas present.

The colors are from the loopy ewe. The green is for a lacey, leaf pattern shawl, the other two for some endpaper mitts.
Last but not least, the final shipment of the RSC club. Love the yarn and the pattern, now all I need is the spare time.
There's still a bit more in the works. I ordered a couple of blacks from knitpicks. I'm trying to find a good, inexpensive pure black that I can use for stranded knitting. Hopefully they'll work out.

Making some progress on the Botanica Medallion, once I figured out all the errata and the screwey pattern. I only have 70 repeats to do on the edging. One takes about 15 minutes.

See, I won't be bored.......

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cinnamon Brown is 3!

This week is Cinnamon Brown's birthday. She was born 3 years ago, the day after thanksgiving. I still remember the day we first saw her, a tiny little puppy in a cold garage in the middle of January. We picked her over her sister because she seemed the friendliest. When we took her to the vet on monday morning, we were told that she was completely unsocialized, and would probably be a nervous biter. The vet said we should have never bought her. We were devastated.
Well......I'm happy to report that after a couple of obedience classes (HAH!), some fun days at doggie day care, and lots of lovin' from various pilates classes, she's pretty much perfect in our eyes. In everyone's life, there's one animal that becomes your "heart" animal. She's mine.
Happy birthday sister!

Here she is, a girl and her farty marmot! She loves it.
On the knitting front, the christmas knitting continues. Nothing much new.
Next week, all kinds of surprises in the works, stay tuned!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sometimes you just gotta do it.

This week's motto: finish up!
I've spent my knitting time this week finishing up a lot of odds and ends and some holiday knitting.
The faery ring is done with buttons and all. The only thing it still needs is a little blocking around the hood.
The "holiday" socks are done too.
As you can see, they've all been boxer inspected and approved as well.
Oh, and that nice, bright yarn is the stuff from the sale last weekend. I've just been petting it all week.

The other thing on the finished list is the messenger bag. Isn't that parakeet cute?
I love how his little cheeks turned out. It's the logo of my friend's pilates studio. (don't worry, she doesn't read this blog). I think she's going to love her new bag. It's definintely one of a kind. The project today is to line it with that fabric there, reinforce the strap and sew it on. (I also need to remove the cat hair. Squiggi has somehow decided that felted bag feels SO good on his butt!) One more christmas present down!

Next up, finishing some fingerless mitts for one of my clients, and also a couple of felted bowls for some other clients. The bowls should go fast, they just need time to dry once they're felted. I plan to fill them with some odds and ends of goodies and sugarless peppermints. After that, I guess I can go back to knitting for ME!

P.S. Blue Moon Fiber Arts - makers of socks that rock, is having a 15% off sale this weekend. I had to spend money, I know you will too!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

All Done!

The Fairy is finished. All it needs is buttons and a bit of blocking.
I'm loving it. It fits perfectly and is warm and comfy. I can't believe how fast it went. I can hardly wait for it to get colder so I can wear it, and it's definitely going to madrona with me in Feb.

Next up, I'm going back to christmas knitting. I've decided to make a felted bowl for one of my clients and fill it with sugarless mints, also, I found a cute pattern for some fingerless gloves made with one mini-mochi and I'm going to do those for another friend and client. I also have to finish up the christmas socks (pretty much there after watching movies last night), and a couple of man-socks - also christmas stuff.
The felted bag is felted and has been drying all week. It felted nicely, but it's really thick and makes the kitchen smell like a wet dog. I'll be working on the needlefelting as soon as it's dry enough, then lining it and adding the strap. I think my friend Amy will love it (she doesn't know about this blog, so it's OK).

I just have to add that I LOVE Ravelry. There were 2 happy rav incidents this week that just remind me that it's pretty cool. The first happened by accident. I stumbled on a thread that I wouldn't normally even read, but for some reason, I clicked on it. Imagine my surprise to find a person I worked with about 2 years ago, she moved to the UK, and is still living there. We friended each other and messaged back and forth a bit. It really is a small world. The other happy accident was when someone posted about a yarn sale in my town. Of course, I had to go. Bought some lovely sunny yellow sock weight yarn with no idea of what I'm going to do with it. Maybe it was the dark weather that inspired me. It's sitting on my desk right now, and I pet it regularly.

One final request, if you have a moment, drop by Bea's site and send some healing thoughts to Gus, her doggie. Seems he ate a small rubber ball. He had the surgery to remove it, but has ended up in the doggie ER. All of us pet lovers know what that's like, just sayin'.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Rockin" the fairy ring

I don't know why this project is going so quickly, but it really is.
The body of the sweater is complete as well as both the sleeves. It's mostly blocked (one sleeve left to do), and ready to start with connecting the shoulders together and picking up for the hood. It's turning out beautifully and I can hardly wait to see the finished coat.

That's pretty much been all the knitting progress this week. Worked on the christmas socks yesterday for a bit while faery was drying. Thinking about lining up the next project, but I'm just not sure what to do. I'm thinking 2-color norwegian knee socks, or, making some fingerless gloves for some of my clients. I don't know if they'd wear or like them, so I'm on the fence......

I'm already loving fall back. That extra hour just seems to make all the difference.
I also thought I'd share some pics of our visitor this week.
What's that sister? Something in the front yard?

Check out the rack. Nice little 2-point. It's amazing how they adapt. We live in a pretty busy residential area, and they seem to visit a lot - right now it's for the apples that fall from the tree.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

fairy ring progress

This week has been totally devoted to fairy ring knitting-wise, and I have great progress to show for it. The bottom cable and hem is done, the garter stitch "skirt" is done, the lower cabling is done and also the left front. It went very fast and I'm extremely pleased with how it's turning out. This is my first adventure into this much cabling and this many charts. Just looking at the pattern and chart detail totally intimidated me for a long time. I finally just decided to go for it, since I'd bought the yarn back in july and I want to be able to wear it this winter instead of knitting on it next summer. Next up, the right side and the back. These kind of take a while because they require a bit of concentration since they're all cabled. I'm hoping to be able to finish the body this week, and then the sleeves next week. We'll see. It IS supposed to rain most of the week, but that bodyflow and bodypump are not going to learn themselves and I need to teach them both on friday.
Good thing next weekend is "fall back" and we get an extra hour.
I think my next project is going to be some "damensocken" - nordic 2-color knee socks. I've found some great solid color sock yarn at and I may have to order it.
Next week, the classes should also be up for madrona. I've never really been interested in classes before, but sock summit gave me a whole new perspective. I'll be looking at the madrona classes closely to see if there's anything that catches my eye. Sounds like they have some great teachers lined up.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

books, books, books!

Like I need any more projects......
This week brought some new books, not a lot of knitting progress.
There's some goodies here. The joy of sox (thanks Pam, you enabler, you)
The enchanted sole. I pre-ordered this one back in july. I was glad I did when I saw the "alchemest" pattern. It's gorgeous. Gotta make it. Just not right now.
The latest Vogue - some good patterns here
And a Norwegian(?) mitten, sock, and hat book. There's these amazing black and white knee socks in there. Putting them on my list. Good thing it comes with an english translation. I'm addicted to colorwork after the mittens. I don't know if I do it "right", or even well, but I'm loving it.

Speaking of mittens, they're all done, thumbs and all. Everyone that's seen them thinks they're great. They were a fun, fast, knit. I love them.

The big cabled thing there is "faery ring" by Mary Scott Huff. I fell in love with this cabled sweater-coat last year at madrona. Ordered the yarn, cascade 220 doeskin heather, from WEBS last summer when it was on sale, and promptly got scared by all the cables and charts. I was looking for a new "big" project to do on a rainy day, so I dragged it all out and dug in. It's not as hard as it looks so far. We'll see what happens when I have to pick up 262 stitches and start knitting miles of cable on the body. I'd love to have it done by the next Madrona in Feb. The designer will be there again, and I can wear it and show off!
This week, more faery ring knitting, some plain socks for christmas, felting the purse, and working on the new bodypump and bodyflow, since I have to teach them soon.
It's supposed to rain....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

sock summit, the gift that keeps on giving

Back in august, there was this little thing called sock summit. I took the plunge and went for the entire 4 days. I guess it's ok to say now, but I was one of the lucky ones. I got all the classes I wanted. Maybe it was just some 50th birthday mojo, maybe just good luck and a persistent husband, I don't know. When I chose my classes, I tried to focus on things that would improve my skills as a knitter. So far, that strategy is working pretty darned well. It's given me the confidence to try things I don't think I would have.

One of the classes I took was a colorwork class with Chrissy Gardiner. She's a great teacher, very patient and helpful. I did it because I wanted to make these mittens from Jorid. The ones with the dogs.
Here they are......

I made a couple of small changes to the pattern. Since there is no special cast-on, I used an Estonian cast-on by Nancy Bush, followed by one knit row and one purl row before beginning the pattern. This cast-on is nice and stretchy. I also modified the ears on the doggie a bit. The original dog was a boston, now it's a boxer. I think it worked pretty well, don't you? Looks just like her. The second mitten is about 1/2way done, and this one still needs a thumb, but I'm pretty happy with how they're turning out.

This week I also started the second victorian christmas sock. I also need some mindless stuff to pack around with me and do between clients. Next up, I'm eyeing some sweaters. I really, really want to do "faery ring", but the charts TOTALLY intimidate me. I think I'll have to un-chart it first.
I also need to felt the purse. It's supposed to rain later in the week, so that may be my opportunity. I went to the LYS yesterday, they had a sale on, and I showed impressive restraint. All I bought was some "parakeet colored" roving to finish the needle felting on the purse.

I've been distracted by the mittens all week. Gotta get back to that christmas knitting, too.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

gail, part two

The second gail is done. I'm pretty proud of my christmas present progress.
It's all blocked and will soon be put away from meddling kitties.

The purse is also done and ready to be felted. (also a christmas present) I'll probably wait for a nice, rainy day to do that. They'll be plenty of those. Fall arrived here at EXACTLY 10 am last tuesday. One minute it was nice and sunny, the next cold, windy and rainy. Go figure.

This week brought some other goodies. A Fourth treasure of knitting (from ebay), the latest Socks that Rock kit. (love the yarn, still thinking about the pattern), and a completion of one of the victorian christmas socks. I love the victorian socks because I used several techniques that I learned at sock summit, judy's magic cast on, short row heels, and a picot edge cast off. It was really fun to put it all together in a fairly plain sock. The first one was the experimental model, so it took a lot of time and frogging. Hopefully the second one will be easier.
I'm thinking the next project will be the doggie mittens. I have a perfect brown color in the knitpicks pallette. It looks just like sister.

On friday night, we went to arts walk downtown. We were just starting to have fun, when it started pouring. Sister does NOT like to be wet, so we boogied for the car.

This was some of the best art there......

Saturday, September 26, 2009

progress, purchases, and a MAJOR yard sale score!

First the progress. The North Pole christmas sock is coming along nicely, after the third try, you know, it's a charm. It kept coming out too big. I've finally figured out where the foot should end and the heel should begin, so I think it's going to work perfectly. Now it's just knit, knit, knit. It's a good, I have 10 minutes between clients project, even though it's not too stimulating.

Next, purchases, like I need more yarn. I stopped by the LYS on friday to get the 2 small needles there. Judy's magic cast on is so much easier on those kind of needles as opposed to straights. Well, they had a bunch of the zauerballs. Had to have one.
This one a a pretty cool berry color. I'm pretty sure I'm going to use it to make the shawl I saw on ravelry. Don't really care for it as socks, and I already have so many.
Speaking of socks, I'm expecting my socks that rock sept shipment any minute. I have to admit, I already peeked at some of the spoilers, and I'm sure I'm going to love it.

Now for the major score.....
I stopped by a yard sale this morning and bought a couple of knitting books for 50 cents. I pretty much always buy knitting books if I see them and they're cheap, just because. Well, and I still can't believe this one, the Alice Starmore book is a special one. It's out of print, has been for some time, will probably not ever be printed again, and it's kind of a cool book. It sells on Amazon for somewhere between $200-300. Yes, that's TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! Not too bad for my 50 cent investment. Now, I have to think, do I want to sell it on ravelry for a couple hundred bucks, (that would buy a lot of projects), or, would I rather keep it. Tough call. I'll have to let you know, keeping it for now. Oh, by the way, the yarn was free. I really have to go to more yard sales!

We will now return you to your regularly scheduled nap.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gail, oh my!

Gail is complete, blocked and safely put away from meddling cats.
Isn't she beautiful??
I already have a second one started. It will be a very nice christmas gift.

This week also brought some new yarn. The 9 skeins of brown cotton are for the Botanica Medallion. I really love this vest(?), but didn't want to look like a giant doily. I saw it on someone at sock summit and it was beautiful. I think the key is to not make it in an off-white yarn, so I chose a chestnut color. Hope it will work out. The second set of brown and white are for the doggie mittens on ravelry. They're very cute and will be my first official try at colorwork. The brown in this one matches sister perfectly. That was the plan.

I'd love to show you the north pole christmas socks. One was about 90 percent done too, but I decided I didn't like the toe AT ALL, too pointy, so I ripped the whole thing out and started again. The first time the magic cast on went really smoothly, but I swear, I tried to get it to work yesterday for at least an hour and it wasn't happening. I finally gave up and cast on for the second Gail. I'll try the sock again when I feel a bit more patient. Although the socks are very plain, I'm trying to use some of the techniques I learned at sock summit. Judy's magic cast on, short row heels, and a stretchy bind off. See, sock summit just keeps on giving.
I can hardly wait for the next conference. The madrona schedule should be up soon, and I've never really considered classes there, but I'm taking a whole 'nother look at it. I'm definitely thinking about taking a class that will improve my skills and take them to another level.

This week should bring the next installment of the socks that rock sock club. I can hardly wait to see what Tina has for us this time. I've checked out her new colors and I think my credit card is weeping.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

lesssons in lace

I was so inspired by all the great shawls I saw at sock summit, I decided I needed one of my own. So, here's what I've learned about lace - just this week too!
1. I cannot knit from a chart. It looks like chinese. If it's written out, I do fine, but the charts, not.
2. It pays to have the best tools. You cannot knit lace with a dull bamboo needle. Addi turbo lace, baby.
3. Lifelines.
4. Patience. Kind of goes with the lifelines.
I'm liking it though. Say hello to Gail. (rav pattern)
I'm on the 6th pattern repeat - out of 7 and booking right along. I don't think it's going to go as fast now, since it keeps growing and growing. The yarn is handmaiden sea silk, northern lights, purchased at knit-purl in portland. I already have a second one planned as a christmas present.

Also, thanks to a nice, warm shift at the farmer's market for the master gardeners yesterday, the garden socks are 99 percent done. All they need is a toe. Good thing, I think the next shipment will be this week and I also want to get started on the north pole christmas socks. Those should go quickly, though, they're going to be plain, toe-up to show off the self-striping yarn.
The felted bag is coming along, but, honestly, it's boring.

On a happy note, I got my pilates certificate yesterday. It's official. I'm certified, and, except for continuing education, finally done. WHAT will I do with my weekends??

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Have I said how much I love where I live??

On friday night, we went dowtown to Harbor Days. I love where I live.....

These guys have been visiting lately. This is my front yard. Notice the spotted butt on the baby. They're all cute until they eat your flowers!

Saturday was a road trip to portland. Good car knitting on the bag strap. nothing exciting to show, though. I'm using a double knitting technique I learned at sock summit. It's making a pretty substantial strap. I think it's going to work great when it's felted and hopefully not stretch much. The bag is coming along too. I can only work on it for so long because, well, it's kind of boring.

So, in portland we made a stop by the Yarn Garden. They had the universal yarn, "north pole", how could I resist?? the top yarn is north pole victoriana. I'm thinking some plain socks, it is self-striping, and toe-up, so I can use every inch of yarn. The second yarn is handmaiden sea silk from knit-purl. I've been wanting to make a shawl ever since I saw all the really cool ones at sock summit, so I decided to tackle a "gail". After a bit of frustration and some reading on ravelry, I think I'm ready to go. Hopefully they'll be something to show soon.
It's supposed to rain hard here for the next two days. I think we'll be having a pretty lazy labor day around here.......

Sunday, August 30, 2009

mindless knitting

This week has been pretty quiet. Back to almost the full normal schedule. There's still a couple of pilates clients that are mia, and my Y mat class will start back up sept 10. I can't believe it's labor day already. Where did the summer go???

Good news though, on the pilates front. I got my test scores back and I passed with flying colors! Not as high as I would like, kind of greedy, I know, but no client will ever care what my scores were, only that I'm certified. It was an 89 by the way, 85 written and 93 practical. I'll always wonder what I missed, but I'll never know. I have so much free time now that I'm not studying or watching videos constantly. Maybe yardwork? A new project?

I seem to be in between knitting projects right now. Lots of mindless knitting. I'm making a bag for my friend Amy for christmas. It's going to be a messenger bag and I'm hoping to needlefelt her studio logo on the flap. It's from some recycled yarn, not sure where it came from, it was in the stash. I do know I tried felting a swatch of it and it worked fine. Pretty mindless though, knit, knit, knit.
I also got the "Garden" socks to a pretty easy point. The heel is turned on the second one and now I'm just working on the foot, knit, knit, knit.
I'm saving it for the farmer's market next week. I'll need something to do while I sit there.

I'm trying to decide what the next project should be. I REALLY want to do the bonanica medallion from the spring vogue. After I saw it done up on someone at sock summit, it made me want to do it more. Do I NEED to buy more yarn. I also want to do a shawl. I saw some really cool ones done with one zauerball and some great pooling techniques on ravelry this week. Do I really NEED more yarn?? I'd have to order both, since my LYS doesn't have either.

We're headed off to portland for a day next week to do some errands. Maybe we'll have to make a stop at knit-purl.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

how did summer get to be almost over????

Time to think about christmas present knitting already.
I will NOT be finishing gifts on christmas eve, will not, will not.......

One of the coolest things I saw at sock summit was wenat's awesome pooled scarf. It inspired me to go DIRECTLY to the blue moon booth and buy more yarn. This scarf was done in a week, using a pattern from the yarn floozies site. It doesn't pool as cleanly as hers, but I love the colors. It's Champman springs in silkie. This one's for me. There's another already on the needles for someone else, in a lovely emerald green.

In other knitting news, one garden sock (sock club) is done. I'm planning on starting the second one this week so that I can knit the easy parts at the lacey farmer's market in a couple of weeks. If I get past the leg and turning the heel, it's pretty much mindless from there.

I think sister's still recovering from the beach. Any old pillow in a pinch!